Don Drumm was born in Warren, Ohio in 1935. After studying medicine for two years at Hiram College in Hiram, Ohio, he decided to pursue a career in art. He transferred to Kent State University where he received a B.F.A. and an M.A. He subsequently worked as a designer for the Industrial Design firm “Smith, Scherr and McDermott” for two years. In 1960 Drumm opened his own studio, as a full time practicing Sculptor and designer/craftsman near the University of Akron in Akron, Ohio. In 1971, together with his wife, Lisa Drumm, he expanded the studio to incorporate a one-room gallery. Since then the enterprise has grown extensively and now embraces eight buildings, providing gallery facilities for over 500 artists and studio space for three resident artists.
In the late 1950s Drumm pioneered the use of cast aluminum (aluminum) as an artistic medium. In addition he has been a pioneer in the use of contemporary building materials, and techniques for the creation of Arts and crafts. The 1960s brought about many teaching opportunities for Don as he was artist-in-residence at Bowling Green State University and taught at Penland School of Crafts.
He continues experimenting and constantly creating to this day. Drumm has won numerous awards along the way, including: Ohio Designer Crafts' “Lifetime Achievement Award”, “Outstanding Contributors of the Century”, to the Akron community by the Beacon Journal Publishing Company, first recipient of the Outstanding Visual Artist Award from the Akron Area Arts Alliance in 2000, and the first recipient of the American Institute of Architecture (AIA) “Artist and Craftsman Excellence” award.
Drumm has worked on a wide range of public, commercial and private commissions in the USA and abroad.
The Drumm Family
The Drumm legacy extends beyond Don himself. The Drumm family has a wealth of artistic and creative talent that spans the generations.
Lisa Drumm was born in Erie, Pennsylvania to Catharine Plavcan, artist and art critic for the Erie Times New, and Joseph Plavcan, renowned painter and art teacher. After receiving a Bachelor's of Fine Arts Degree from Ohio Wesleyan University, Lisa came to the Akron area to teach art. She taught art at Rankin Elementary, Perkins Middle School, Butchel High School, Akron's Creative Learning Center, Old Trail School, and assorted classes at the University of Akron, Penland School of Crafts and others.
An artist in her own right known for creating soft sculpture dolls, Lisa manages the entire operation of Don Drumm Studios & Gallery. She has won several awards for the Gallery, including the Rainmakers Award for achievement in business from Northeast Ohio Live Magazine, the Creative Woman of the Year from Women's History Project, numerous Zenith awards and other top gallery awards from Fox 8 News, the Akron Beacon Journal, and Niche Magazine (including two Top Ten Galleries in America awards).
Leandra Drumm has been creating her whole life. Her grandparents and parents Don and Lisa Drumm are artists as well as her older sister, Elisa, so it might just run in the family. Her early summers in the seventies were spent immersed in the arts and crafts at North Carolina’s famous Penland School where her parents taught classes amongst other up and coming artists like world renowned glass blower Dale Chihuly. Her parents sought to encourage her to become an engineer, but the when she took her first art class in high school, her art teacher sent her to the University of Akron to take classes. While finishing up her BFA in graphic design at Kent State University she tried her hand at selling pewter jewelry and glassware etched with her designs, and Leandra Drumm Designs has been going strong for over 20 years.
Leandra began with etching her designs in crystal and functional glassware, and has over the years done more sculptural work in pewter and in combination with stained glass. Leandra’s artwork combines visual storytelling and whimsical imagery with functional purpose. Wedding and Story Bowls with etched tales and characters dancing to Life’s tunes and tales. Customers say they enjoy their wine much more using her etched wine glasses and that her sculptural switch plate covers make turning on their lights an event. Her work has been featured in Bon Appetite Magazine, the Boston Sunday Globe, and newspapers in Chicago, Nashville, Cleveland and Akron.
Elisa Drumm Van Auken received her B.F.A. in Textiles from the Rhode Island School of Design and worked for several years as a colorist and designer for Gilbert Frank in New York City. She later moved to the Boston area with her husband and started her own line of hand-printed clothing under the name of E. Drumm Designs. Eventually, the sewing machines were traded in for power tools and Elisa started exploring wood.
Today, Elisa designs, cuts, carves, and paints a line of limited edition wood pieces in pine and MDF. This whimsical collection includes clocks, mirrors, furniture and wall pieces. Her work is greatly influenced by her love of early American Folk Art, the American Southwest, and colors reflecting her earlier years as a surf wear designer in New York. Each piece is individually created by hand in her studio located in Littleton, Massachusetts. Many of her pieces include cast pewter accents designed by her father. She has gained recognition beyond her Littleton boundaries from collectors, museum stores, and galleries across the country.